Finding a job if you have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND)

Looking for a job

When looking for a job, look out for the disability confident symbol on any adverts and application forms:

Disability confident symbol

This symbol means that:

  • The employer is committed to employing disabled people
  • You'll be guaranteed an interview if you meet the basic conditions for the job

Find out about local jobs at the local Jobcentre.

Who can help

Between the ages of 13 and 19, schools and colleges are required to offer career guidance, whether or not the young person has a Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

The local Jobcentre can support with looking for a job or gaining new skills and they can help find disability-friendly employers in the local area.

They can also refer people to a specialist work psychologist, if appropriate, or carry out an employment assessment, asking about:

  • Skills and experience
  • What kind of roles people are interested in

When people looking for a job have a health condition or a disability that affects their ability to work, they can get assistance and advice on finding a job by speaking to a work coach at the local Jobcentre Plus.

A work coach is trained to be able to help people with additional needs or disabilities to find work or to gain new skills for a job. They can help with work preparation, recruitment, interview coaching and even confidence building.

The work coach can carry out an employment assessment. An employment assessment helps to identify strengths and abilities and the work coach will be able to create a plan of action to help meet employment goals. The first step to getting an employment assessment is an interview with a work coach where they will look at any previous work experience, talents, skills, and employment goals.

The length of time an employment assessment takes varies based on individual needs and can last half a day or longer. After the assessment, a plan of action will be agreed with the work coach, which may include training or they might recommend programmes such as Access to Work, Residential Training or Work Choice.

The work coach can also provide referrals to a specialist work psychologist, if needed, for a more detailed employment assessment.

A work coach can explain the programmes and grants available. These include:

Questions about health or disability

An employer is not normally allowed to ask questions about health or disability before they offer someone a job.

They can only ask about this for very limited reasons, for example to:

  • Make reasonable adjustments - for example if someone needs a large print version of a test
  • Decide if someone can carry out tasks that are an essential part of the job